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And the winner is...
Friday November 2, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

Livigno is the surprise winner as best European resort, Fernie wins in North America while Crystal is voted the best operator. The winners and losers have been unveiled at the World Snow Awards in London. PlanetSKI was on the jury and reports from the event.

The inaugural event was held as the centerpiece for the London Ski & Snowboard Show at Earl Court.

The great and the good of the UK snowsports industry were there as the results were revealed.

There was some surprise that Livigno in Italy was voted the best European resort ahead of more well-known ones like Val d'Isere and Courchevel.

Fernie proved to be a popular choice beating off competition from its more famous Canadian rival of Whistler. 

Crystal walked away with the prize of the best mainstream UK tour operator for its innovative pricing and the events it runs like the Ski Fest and its initiatives to get beginner skiers and snowboarders on to the slopes.

It also has new products like its Riders Lodge, aimed at the youth market, and it works closely with Disability Snowsport UK to help people with handicaps get to the mountains.

In the specialist agent category Ski Solutions won, while the best specialist operator was Ski Independence.

Switzerland came away with a clutch of titles. Zermatt was voted the best après ski resort for its wide range of offerings. After all après ski is not just dancing on tables and drinking beer.

While Swiss was voted the best airline and Geneva the best airport.

On the gear and equipment front Arc'teryx was the best clothing manufacturer and Ellis Brigham the best UK specialist retailer with Ski Bartlett coming out on top as the best specialist retailer.

For a full list of all the categories see below.

Perhaps the most interesting category was the award for the individual that has made the biggest contribution to UK snowsports in the past 25 years.

It went to the writer and journalist, Arnie Wilson.

He is the current editor of Ski+Board magazine and former skiing correspondent of the Financial Times. Several years ago he skied consecutively for 365 days.

He is also one of the most interesting, polite and charming  men you can meet in our opinion at PlanetSKI.

Well done Arnie! Smile

Arnie and friendsArnie and friends















After the award we had a word with him and , in true Arnie-style, he said he did not feel worthy.
"Personally I would have voted for the two Davids -  Vine and English - neither, sadly, still with us. I always felt the electrifying voice of David Vine brought the excitement of the downhill to our screens, even though he didn't really ski himself. David's successor Graham Bell - who does ski a bit - would have been my other choice. So I don't really feel for a moment that I should have won."

Not everyone could be there in person to collect the awards but there was a very good turn out from all organisations.

They showed full support for the inaugural event.

The award-winning ski journalist, Alf Alderson, collected the award for Arc'teryx.

Alderson collects for Arc'teryxAlderson collects for Arc'teryx













There were of course some disappointments.

Austria has been increasing its share of the British ski market in recent years as the resorts improve and yet this was not reflected in the voting. 

"It was a shame we didn't  win anything but we will fight back with our figures as they are the real test of success and Austria is becoming more popular year on year, but well done to all the winners," a senior figure from the Austrian Tourist Office told PlanetSKI.

The ceremony was hosted by the comedian, actor and satirist, Marcus Brigstocke. He is also a keen snowboarder.

"It's been a great night here at Earls Court with the industry celebrating these inaugural awards. I hope this becomes an annual fixture in the snowsports calendar as it is important to celebrate excellence in an industry which is so full of energy and promise," said Brigstocke.

There were smiles all round from the winners and disappointment for the losers. There were a few sour grapes and some wondering how the short lists had been drawn up.

Some well-known resorts were disappointed not to have even made the shortlist.

Some resorts grumbled at the ceremony and a couple left early.

The PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove, was one of the judges and for a look at how the awards were allocated see his blog written after the judging day.

The awards ceremony had been planned as a black tie event at a London hotel but was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

However many at the event, including us at PlanetSKI, were rather glad we didn't need to get into our smart clothes and enjoyed a more inclusive event at the Ski & Snowboard Show.

After the ceremony we all went to the local pub.

Awards nightAwards night









Best European Resort

Livigno, Italy

Best North American Resort

Fernie, Canada

Best family resort

Avoriaz, France

Best upcoming resort

Monterosa Ski, Italy

Best resort for après

Zermatt, Switzerland

Best Clothing manufacturer


Best accessory manufacturer


Best safety kit manufacturer


Best sunglasses manufacturer


Best goggles manufacturer


Best UK specialist retailer (multiple stores)

Ellis Brigham

Best UK specialist retailer

Ski Bartlett

Best Airline


Best airport


Best specialist operator

Ski Independence

Best mainstream operator


Best Specialist Agent

Ski Solutions

Best Mainstream Wintersports insurer

Direct Travel Insurance

Best Specialist insurer


Best Snowboard

Jones Mountain Twin

Best Women's Snowboard

Salomon Wonder

Best Overall Snowboard Manufacturer


Best Ski

Black Crows Nocta

Best Women's ski

Volkl Allura

Best Overall Ski Manufacturer


Iconic ski

Salomon X-Scream Series

Iconic snowboard

Lib Tech Skate Banana

Polar Bear - Outstanding Contribution to Snowsports

Arnie Wilson

The judging panel:

Martin and Graham Bell, Ed Leigh, Huw Walton, Mathew Prior, Henry Druce, Dave Watts, Damon Street, James Cove, Sally Bartlett, Stu Brass, Nick Morgan, Tim Holmes, Warren Smith, Caroline Stuart-Taylor, Lynsey Devon, Cat Weakely and Abigail Challenor.

Livigno, Friday 2nd NovemberLivigno, Friday 2nd November














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